Health Insurance

Ten tips to help you buy health insurance

Tip #1: Register and Save

In the event of serious illness or an accident, buy health insurance provides financial and medical protection. Health insurance is not only for your health; it can also protect you from financial hardships, debt, or even bankruptcy.

You can get private insurance if you don’t have any health insurance from your employer, your spouse or your parents. People with pre-existing conditions such as cancer were frequently denied insurance or subject to high premiums. You can now purchase private insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace, regardless of your current or past health.

Registering for health insurance is the best way to plan for your future. This applies to you, your family and your finances.

Tip #2: Don’t miss the deadline

Open enrollment refers to a period in which the Health Insurance Marketplace accepts health insurance applications. Open enrollment is held every year between Nov. 1 and Jan. 15.

Tip 3: Select a plan that suits your needs.

Ask yourself these questions when choosing a plan for your health insurance:

  • What are the most important health care needs for my family?
  • Who is in good health and who might need more care over the next year?
  • Are you planning to have a baby?
  • Do I feel satisfied with my current plan of action? What’s the problem?
  • How much did I spend last year on my health insurance? What do you think the amount will be next year?
  • What amount do you want to spend each month on your health insurance?

These questions can be discussed with family members and other dependents. You can plan for a healthy future by focusing on the most important things. This will allow you to create a plan that is built around you.

Tip #4: Renew or change your existing plan

Open enrollment is the best time to renew or modify your existing plan, provided you don’t have a qualifying event. This is the ideal time to review your current health insurance benefits and to decide what, if any, you would like to change.

You may have a change in income, someone has moved jobs, or you are unhappy with your current plan. Now is the right time to look at all options and find the best health care plan. Advocate Health Care plans will provide you with easy access to compassionate caregivers and cutting-edge medical technology. They also offer world-class care that is built around you.

Are you satisfied with your plan? Do you want to renew it? Check to make sure that your current plan of health insurance is still available. You can either choose another plan or shop outside of the marketplace if your current plan is no more available. Keep in mind, however, that you will not be eligible for government subsidies if you purchase health insurance outside of the marketplace.

No matter what plan you choose, or where it is purchased, make sure you pick one that’s tailored to you – one that includes Advocate Health Care.

Tip #5 – Only shop for health insurance

The Health Insurance Marketplace is only for private health insurance. The marketplace does not offer life insurance, long term care insurance, or any other type of insurance.

Medicare is an additional type of insurance that isn’t offered through the Health Insurance Marketplace. You can renew your Medicare benefits or apply for them if you are eligible.

Medicare may not cover all your medical expenses. You can also enroll in Advocate Health Care supplemental insurance to ensure you get the best possible health care.

Tip #6 – Choose the Gold (or Bronze or Silver) plan

On the Health Insurance Marketplace, you can choose from four types of health insurance plans. These include:

Bronze – This plan has the lowest monthly premiums and the highest out-of pocket costs for care. If you need coverage for life-threatening events such as accidents or severe illnesses, bronze plans may be the best option. You will need to pay for most routine care out-of-pocket.

silver – silver plans have a moderate monthly premium with a modest deductible. While you will pay slightly more per month with a Bronze plan than with a Silver plan, you’ll also be paying less out-of pocket.

Gold- A Gold plan is a good option if you are willing to pay a higher monthly fee and have lower out-of pocket costs for medical treatment. People who anticipate making a significant number of healthcare visits in the next year tend to choose Gold plans.

Silver – Silver plans have the highest monthly premiums and the lowest out-of-pocket costs. A Platinum plan can significantly lower your out-of pocket expenses if you need frequent care.

All plans offer the same essential benefits such as hospitalization, emergency treatment, rehabilitative and maternity services, lab tests and prescription drugs.

No matter what plan you have, many preventive services can be 100% covered by your insurance. This means that you don’t have to pay anything extra for wellness checks, regular screening mammograms or screening colonoscopies. Once your annual out-of-pocket limit has been met, your insurance company will pay for any medical expenses beyond it.

These plans differ in a few key ways: how much your insurance company pays you, how much your monthly premium is and how high is your deductible.

Advocate Health Care is included in all plans. This means you have world-class care available at your disposal, regardless of what level you choose.

Tip #7 – Consider a high-deductible plan

HDHPs (High-Deductible Health Plans) are intended to lower monthly premiums. You will typically pay less per month for a Bronze or Silver plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace than for other plans. But, if you do need care, you will have to pay more out-of-pocket expenses.

HDHPs also have lower monthly premiums than traditional health insurance plans. They also have a higher deductible. This means that you have to pay a certain amount out-of-pocket before your insurance kicks in.

How it works

Once your deductible is met, your insurance company will pay coinsurance. Once your deductible has been met, 100% coinsurance is when the insurance company covers 100% of your health care costs. Most HDHPs work on an 80/20 model. Once you have met your deductible they will start paying 80%. The remaining 20% are your responsibility.

You will continue to pay 20% until your out-of pocket maximum for the year is reached. This is the maximum amount that you can spend on health care for the calendar year. After that limit is reached, your insurance company will pay 100% of your healthcare costs.

Real-World Example

Let’s suppose you choose an HDHP with this:

  • Deductible of $2,000
  • 80/20 coinsurance
  • Maximum $4,000 out of pocket

You would only pay a small monthly premium for this plan. Additionally, you would pay more out-of-pocket for urgent care visits, doctor appointments, and lab tests.

You would pay an additional $2,000 for every health care visit. The insurance company would then begin covering 80% of your healthcare costs. The insurance company would then take 20% of your health care costs, until you reach the maximum out-of pocket of $4,000.

  • You would pay $2,200 for a $3,000 doctor’s bill. This includes $2,000 to cover your deductible and 20% of the $1,000 remaining due.
  • You would pay $4,000 to cover a $12,000 doctor’s bill. $2,000 for your deductible and 20% of the $10,000 remaining.
  • You’d only have to pay $4,000 for a $200,000 doctor’s bill. This is your maximum out-of-pocket amount for the year.

You can see that the monthly premiums and deductibles aren’t the only costs associated to an HDHP. The initial out-of pocket costs, coinsurance (how much insurance company pays after your deductible has been met), as well as the maximum out-of–pocket amount (the maximum amount that you would have to pay in any given year) are all important.

If you are generally healthy and don’t expect any major health care expenses in the future, a high-deductible plan might be right for your needs.

You should consider these plans if you are considering them. To help pay out-of-pocket expenses, you can also set aside money in an emergency fund (or a HSA) for this purpose.

Are you ready to make a decision on an HDHP? You can choose one that offers Advocate Health Care.

Tip #8: See if you qualify

You may be eligible for tax credits and subsidies if you are unable to afford private insurance through the Healthcare Marketplace.

Your family size and household income will determine whether you are eligible for tax credits. These credits can be used to lower monthly premiums or issue a refund.

You may be eligible for tax credits and a lower-cost insurance plan depending on your income or your state’s Medicaid program.

We can help you if you are having difficulty finding affordable insurance or if you think you cannot afford medical care. Learn more about our financial assistance options.

Tip #9 – Choose the right network

In-network refers to a network of doctors and hospitals with which your insurance company has an agreement. In-network care means that your insurance covers more of your costs and your overall healthcare costs are lower.

You’ll pay more out-of pocket if you go to a hospital or doctor that’s not in your network. It is crucial to stay in-network and choose the right network.

Advocate Health Care is included in your health insurance plan. You’ll be able to access:

  • These are some of the most prestigious hospitals in the U.S.
  • Medical excellence and innovation are the hallmarks of doctors and other providers
  • Specialty programs and clinics that are highly rated
  • There are nearly 400 hospitals and 12 sites of care in the Chicago region.
  • You have the option of making evening, weekend or online appointments that suit your needs

Tip #10 – Take the best care of your health

You’ll have access to the highest quality health care system when you select the right plan and network.

You should look for great health care systems.

  • Take a look at customer reviews. What do other customers think about the quality of their care?
  • Advocate is recognized for medical innovation and clinical excellence.
  • You want convenience. We have nearly 400 hospitals and 12 sites of care that are within walking distance to your house, work, or school.

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